Andrew Bridgen: Conservative MP expelled from Tory party after comparing Covid vaccine to Holocaust

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The North West Leicestershire MP was suspended from parliament earlier this week

Andrew Bridgen has been expelled from the Conservative Party whip after having “crossed a line” in comparing the Covid-19 vaccine to the Holocaust.

Bridgen was suspended from Parliament for five days earlier this year over lobbying and failing to declare relevant interests. He accused the Tories of kicking him out “under false pretences” and said he intends to stand again at the next election, as he hit out at “corruption, collusion, and cover-ups”.

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The North West Leicestershire MPhad already lost the party whip, meaning he was sitting in the Commons as an independent, but the Tories announced on Wednesday that they have now stripped him of his party membership as well.

‘Blood on his hands’

Bridgen has been increasingly vocal in remarks questioning the coronavirus vaccine and on Wednesday tweeted an article on vaccines, adding: “As one consultant cardiologist said to me, this is the biggest crime against humanity since the Holocaust.”

A party spokesman said: “Mr Bridgen was expelled from the Conservative Party on April 12 following the recommendation of a disciplinary panel. He has 28 days from this date to appeal.”

Conservative Chief Whip Simon Hart had previously said: “Andrew Bridgen has crossed a line, causing great offence in the process. As a nation, we should be very proud of what has been achieved through the vaccine programme. The vaccine is the best defence against Covid that we have.

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“Misinformation about the vaccine causes harm and costs lives. I am therefore removing the whip from Andrew Bridgen with immediate effect, pending a formal investigation.”

(Photo: Official Parliamentary portrait/NationalWorld)

Bridgen has also been criticised for a tweet in which he implied that the unusually high rate of excess deaths was related to the Covid vaccine, despite there being no evidence to support this claim.

Tory MP Michael Fabricant welcomed the decision to suspend the whip, adding that his former colleague will have “blood on his hands” if his comments stop people getting vaccinated. If this deters people from being vaccinated and causes deaths as a direct consequence, he’ll have blood on his hands. His tweets are wholly irresponsible.”

Earlier, former Cabinet minister Simon Clarke had condemned Bridgen’s tweet referencing the Holocaust, calling it “disgraceful”. Karen Pollock, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, called the comments “highly irresponsible and wholly inappropriate”.

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Bridgen’s Conservative colleague Andrew Percy, vice-chair of the APPG against antisemitism, said he contacted Number 10 and the Chief Whip after seeing the tweet. He said: “The Holocaust saw the systematic state-sponsored murder of six million jews and others. To use the Holocaust to promote some conspiracy theory fuelled anti-vaccine nonsense is not only anti-science, it is sick.”

What has Andrew Bridgen said about being expelled from the Tories?

In a statement, Bridgen said: “My expulsion from the Conservative Party under false pretences only confirms the culture of corruption, collusion, and cover-ups which plagues our political system. I have been a vocal critic of the vaccine rollout and the party have been sure to make an example of me.

“I am grateful for my newfound freedom and will continue to fight for justice for all those harmed, injured, and bereaved due to governmental incompetence. I will continue to serve my constituents as I was elected to do and intend to stand again at the next election.”

Why was Andrew Bridgen suspended?

Bridgen was suspended for breaching lobbying rules and failing to accurately declare interests, an investigation by the parliamentary watchdog found, which was upheld by the Standards committee.

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The MP also questioned the integrity of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, the cross-party group found. As previously reported by NationalWorld, in 2020 Bridgen registered an advisory role with Mere Plantations, a UK-based firm involved with the growing of teak wood in Ghana.

While the role was listed as paid for approximately 18 months, Bridgen later updated the register of members’ financial interests to say he had never received payment for the job.

The MP had previously solicited a donation toward his general election campaign and had a trip to Ghana funded by the firm. Throughout this period, Bridgen contacted ministers and public officials about Mere Plantations in what has now been found to have been a breach of paid lobbying rules by the standards committee.

While Bridgen never accepted payment for the advisory role, which he says he did not carry out, an investigation by the standards commissioner found that Bridgen was offered and signed a contract to carry out the role for £12,000 per year.

In a statement, Bridgen said: “Whilst I am extremely disappointed with the recommendations of the committee, I accept them and will comply with them as required to do so.”

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